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This page is meant to highlight cancelled projects in The Legend of Zelda series. It sources and contextualizes information from a large number of interviews that have been conducted with the Zelda development team by various publications over the years. While this page is meant to highlight projects not commonly seen by the public, please do not link to illegally sourced information or assets on this page or anywhere else on the Zelda Wiki. Additionally, please do not edit this page if you are not confident in what you are doing and express your concerns on its talk page instead.

The Legend of Zelda - Cancelled Games

Ideas and Pitches That Never Left Pre-Production

A Remake of Zelda 2 for the Super Famicom

Following the release of The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, Shigeru Miyamoto and Yoshiaki Koizumi began working on a remake of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link for the Super Famicom, designed using polygons. The two experimented with a thin, polygonal Link viewed from a side-scrolling perspective, similar to the original game. Plans to turn this concept into a full game eventually fell through, and both developers moved on to other projects. However, the team still wanted to create another Zelda based around swordfighting, the way The Adventure of Link was, and this eventually led to the development of Ocarina of Time.[1]


A Side Story to Twilight Princess

Link's Crossbow Training

Following its release in 2006, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess went on to become one of the highest-selling games in the The Legend of Zelda franchise.[2] Keen to give players that had enjoyed Twilight Princess a new game to play while avoiding the lengthy development cycle Zelda projects typically involved, Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto asked the game's development team to explore ways to re-use Twilight Princess's existing world and assets.[3][4]

The idea was to use Twilight Princess's vast terrain to develop a new game that would serve as an "extra story" or "side story" to the main game's events. However, as the team began to formulate stories for this new project, Miyamoto felt these stories were too vast in scope, describing them as "epic tales" as opposed to side stories.[5] Development was halted while the team collectively pondered a solution.[6]

Ultimately, Miyamoto suggested the use of the Wii Zapper to create the game that would become Link's Crossbow Training.[7] Describing the Zelda team's reaction to the decision, Miyamoto stated: "They were kind of shocked. It was like killing all the ideas they were working with until then. Some even felt that we should not do something which makes it look like we are reusing the already existing software and selling it to the consumers."[8]

Note: Coincidentally, the original concept for the Wii Zapper was first proposed by a member of the Twilight Princess team during the development of that game.[9]


Sheikah Action RPG by Retro Studios

Some time between 2005 and 2008, Nintendo-owned Retro Studios began pre-production on a new Zelda game that would have explored the origins of the Master Sword.[10] According to concept artist Sammy Hall, who retroactively revealed it in 2020 via his ArtStation account, the game would have taken place within the "bad ending" of Ocarina of Time.[11]

The project was described as an "action/JRPG" title that would have involved the last male Sheikah's journey transforming into the Master Sword, following a genocidal ethnic cleansing of the Sheikah tribe. During this time, a Dark Gerudo tribe would be giving a "100-year birth" to some form of Ganon.[12] It is unclear if or how this concept would have fit into the events of the Zelda timeline.

Hall would later reveal that the idea for the game had come from former Retro Studios leads Mark Pacini, Todd Keller, and Kynan Pearson.[13] Hall was asked to brainstorm the Sheik project in between his other work at Retro Studios, but stated that he doubted most of Nintendo's staff in Japan ever saw much of his concept work.[14]

The Sheik project was ultimately shelved in 2008 when Pacini and Keller quit Retro Studios to pursue other goals.[15] It is unclear as to what extent Nintendo was aware of the project, or whether the company ever had plans to support it. In a 2011 interview, Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto stated that Nintendo was open to the idea of collaborating with Retro Studios on a Zelda game; however, when the question of a Retro Studios-developed Zelda was posed once again in 2016, Miyamoto suggested that Retro's busy development schedule and distance from Japan would make such a project difficult to coordinate.[16][17]

Additionally, Miyamoto stated in 2016 that Nintendo had internally discussed developing a Zelda game centered around Sheik at some point, but it is unclear as to whether he was referring to the Retro Studios Sheik project specifically.[18]

Note: An interesting parallel to note between the cancelled Sheik project and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is that the plot for both games involved a character transforming into the Master Sword.


A Sequel to Link's Crossbow Training

The Crossbow from Link's Crossbow Training

The Legend of Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma has stated that he was once considering a sequel to Link's Crossbow Training, expressing a desire to do "something more and better" in the field of the first-person shooter.[19]

According to Aonuma, he would have liked to include a full-fledged online multiplayer mode through the Wii's Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service in such a game.[20] Judging by Aonuma's statement, the project never went into development as Nintendo felt he should focus on developing an entirely new Zelda game instead.[21]


Multiplayer Games for Nintendo DS and 3DS

Multiplayer games along the lines of Four Swords and Four Swords Adventures were explored on both Nintendo DS and Nintendo 3DS.

The first instance of this was in 2004, when Daiki Iwamoto, a programmer that had worked on Four Swords, prototyped a multiplayer Zelda along the lines of that game, for the Nintendo DS. At the time, series producer Eiji Aonuma asked Iwamoto to focus on other ideas instead.[22] This would lead to the development of The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass.

The second instance was in 2009, when designer Hiromasa Shikata (who had served as one of many sub-directors on Twilight Princess) and programmer Shiro Mouri (who had served as lead programmer on the Nintendo DS Zelda games) were brainstorming ideas for the Nintendo 3DS handheld, which had not yet been revealed to the public.[23]

During the development of Spirit Tracks, Shikata had felt the game's cooperative gameplay mechanics were well suited to a multiplayer game.[24] Perhaps due to this, Shikata and Mouri's initial approach to a 3DS Zelda was a game centered around player communication, similar to Four Swords and Four Swords Adventures. When the pair presented the idea to their managers, it was turned down by Shigeru Miyamoto, who felt the concept sounded stale.[25] This eventually led to the development of The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds.

Following the release of A Link Between Worlds, both Shikata and Mouri would go on to develop The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes', eventually giving the 3DS its own distinct multiplayer Zelda.


3D Classics: The Legend of Zelda

A glimpse of 3D Classics: The Legend of Zelda from E3 2010

At one point, a 3D rerelease of The Legend of Zelda was planned as part of the 3D Classics line of games.[26]


Games That Were Altered / Cancelled During Development

A More Experimental Zelda 3

Concept art from Hyrule Historia hints at a scrapped sci-fi element

A number of ideas and features were in consideration for the third Zelda game, many of which were cut during development.

The first Legend of Zelda game was originally going to involve sci-fi themes, whereby the main character would travel between the past and the future, and the Triforce was a trio of electronic chips that would play a role in his adventure.[27] For the third Zelda, the development team considered the idea of a science fiction backdrop once more, as demonstrated by concept art of a sci-fi Zelda revealed in the Hyrule Historia art book.

In a 2017 interview, director Takashi Tezuka also revealed that the third Legend of Zelda game was originally going to involve a "multi-world structure," where events taking place in the hub world would have an effect on the others.[28] Three worlds were initially conceived for the game (one of which may have been a futuristic or sci-fi world as suggested by the concept art), but Nintendo felt that three worlds would be too confusing for players and reduced the idea to just two worlds instead.[29]

Shigeru Miyamoto had also initially wanted Zelda 3 to adopt an RPG-like party structure, well before the game even went into development. Miyamoto's original idea called for Link to be accompanied by two companions—a magic user and a fairy whose role would consist of reconnaissance, with Link himself serving as an elf-like fighter character. This idea was never used either, and the design for the fairy was instead utilized in Zelda II: The Adventure of Link.[30]

Finally, another idea that was cut during development involved the game being more open-ended in its structure, with multiple paths through the world. Another idea that was scrapped during development included multiple paths through the world, so that the player's experience would be more open-ended. This idea was abandoned due to memory constraints (with Miyamoto hypothesizing that it would have required 150% more memory than the Super Famicom possessed) and the complications it would have caused in terms of game structure.[31]

"Zelda 3" was ultimately released as The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.


Ura Zelda

The title screen of Ocarina of Time with a 64DD disk inserted.

When Nintendo revealed the Nintendo 64 to the public in 1995, the company also announced an add-on peripheral for the device, dubbed the "64DD". This was a disk drive that would provide the Nintendo 64 with additional RAM, as well as rewritable memory, that would allow for user-created content to be saved to the disk.

The company's first 3D Zelda game, Ocarina of Time, was intended to be developed with the 64DD peripheral in mind, utilizing its hardware to create a persistent world with lasting effects such as trees remaining cut once the player had chopped them down, or Link leaving permanent footprints behind him wherever he walked.[32] This idea was ultimately shelved, owing to the fact that the 64DD consisted of mechanical moving parts like a hard disk, and depending on where on the disk the data was stored, it could take longer to retrieve. This would potentially limit the number of animations that could be programmed for Link, which led to the team's decision.[33]

By 1998, following the release of Ocarina of Time, videogame development costs had increased significantly. The industry had grown increasingly competitive with the introduction of Sony's PlayStation platform, which enjoyed the vast majority of support from third-party game developers. Anticipating a need to release games faster to support the Nintendo 64, Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto felt that the solution was to work on games with shorter development cycles, that still had the potential to sell well. In Miyamoto's view, Ocarina of Time could have been finished much sooner, had Nintendo "cut some parts".[34]

In order to give the Nintendo 64 a second Zelda game in a shorter time, Miyamoto asked his team to develop an updated version of Ocarina of Time for the 64DD. This project, titled "Ura Zelda," was meant to use remixed dungeons from Ocarina of Time and add other enhancements such as fleshing out unresolved plot threads. Eiji Aonuma, who had designed the dungeons for Ocarina of Time, was put in charge of development.[35] Unenthused by the idea of remixing his older dungeons, Aonuma eventually asked permission to create an entirely new Zelda game instead, which would lead to the development of The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask.[36]

Aonuma would serve as director on Majora's Mask, while a separate team would work on Ura Zelda.[37] In 1999, Miyamoto would state that Ura Zelda was being developed in parallel with The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, and that it would "use the existing Ocarina of Time cartridge" but with different dungeons, treasure locations, and story events that made use of the 64DD peripheral. At the time, Miyamoto also stated that Nintendo was considering using some sort of network technology for the game.[38]

Ura Zelda would eventually be released as The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Master Quest in 2003 for the Nintendo Gamecube. The final game would not include most of the ideas originally planned for Ura Zelda. These included:

• A persistent world with permanent consequences of the player's actions[39]

• New story events[40]

• More quests involving masks and the ability to use the GB Camera to create masks for Link[41]

• The use of "network technology"[42]

According to Miyamoto, development on Ocarina of Time Master Quest had been finished for some time, as of August 2000.[43] It was eventually released as a pre-order bonus for 2003's The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, in order to help spur pre-orders for that game.

Note: A Japanese ROM of Ocarina of Time can be tricked into believing a Nintendo 64DD disk has been inserted. Doing so will display a "Disk" icon on the game's title screen. This demonstrates how the game was designed to be compatible with the 64DD as stated by Nintendo following its release.[44][45]


A remake of The Legend of Zelda on the Game Boy Color

The Mysterious Acorn

Following its formation as a subsidiary under Capcom, game development studio Flagship began collaborating with Nintendo on the development of a trilogy of Zelda games for the Game Boy Color in 1999, under the title The Legend of Zelda: The Mysterious Acorn. One of these three games was meant to be a portable conversion of The Legend of Zelda with new features.[46]

As development would progress, the team would discover unforeseen hurdles with porting the first Zelda game to the Game Boy Color. Flagship hadn't accounted for the fact that the Game Boy Color used a narrower screen than a television. As a result, the GBC wasn't able to display rooms built for the first Zelda (which had been designed for TVs) in their entirety. The player needed to move around to be able to view the full extent of the room they were in, which meant it was easy to miss details such as stairways, cracks in the wall, and other similar clues meant to steer progress.[47]

These hurdles, combined with feature creep and Flagship's relative inexperience, would lead to the development team constantly having to rework the game's story and environments to fit one another over the course of a year.[48][49] The remake was eventually cancelled, and the remaining two games in the intended trilogy were released as Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages.

Note: While the trilogy was in development, the three games had different placeholder subtitles in Japanese. The commonly accepted translations for these are Mystical Seed Power, Mystical Seed of Courage, and Mystical Seed of Wisdom. The Legend of Zelda Encyclopedia confirms that Mystical Seed of Power would become Oracle of Seasons. This would indicate that Mystical Seed of Courage became Oracle of Ages, owing to the piece of the Triforce depicted during the game's introduction, and that Mystical Seed of Wisdom was the game that was cancelled.[50]


The Wind Waker 2

2003's The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker had not performed to expectations. The game had sold relatively poorly in Japan, owing to the fact that the country's videogame market had begun to decline. Additionally, despite a successful pre-order campaign, sales in the west were also slowing faster than usual. Series producer Eiji Aonuma would discover that this was because The Wind Waker's cartoon-ish visuals had alienated the upper-teen audience that represented the typical Zelda player in North America—the series' largest market.[51]

By the time The Wind Waker was released, game development costs on home consoles had risen significantly. This was something that Nintendo had been wary of for some time, as the company believed that creating games with constantly escalating budgets was an unsustainable business.[52][53] Meanwhile, Four Swords Adventures, a concept pitched by Shigeru Miyamoto, had failed to set a new direction for either Zelda or the Nintendo GameCube, and Nintendo was uncertain as to what the Zelda franchise needed to do next. A declining Japanese market, rising development costs, and apathy from the western audience were putting pressure on Eiji Aonuma and the core Zelda development team to achieve some sort of breakthrough, failing which the franchise was under threat of being shelved permanently.[54]

Early concepts for Midna, possibly from The Wind Waker 2

At the time, Nintendo was already planning the next Zelda game for the Nintendo GameCube. Tentatively titled The Wind Waker 2, the game would use the same cel-shaded visual style as The Wind Waker but would take place on land instead, with Link riding on horseback like in Ocarina of Time. During the initial stages of planning, the development team would discover that Toon Link's proportions didn't lend themselves well to horseback riding, and while an adult version of Toon Link had already been contemplated for the original The Wind Waker, the team felt this wasn't the solution they were looking for.[55]

At the time, series producer Eiji Aonuma had become aware of the demand for a more realistic Zelda game from the series' North American audience.[56] Given the facts, Aonuma appealed for The Wind Waker 2 to be drastically altered and the project went on to become The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.[57][58]

Twilight Princess would ultimately be a very different game visually, but art director Satoru Takizawa has stated that the character profile for Midna was inherited from a goblin/devilkin character that was to be featured in a "secret project" the Zelda team was working on prior to that game.[59] It is assumed that Takizawa was referring to The Wind Waker 2 project in his statement.


A Horror Game Starring Tingle

Ripened Tingle's Balloon Trip of Love

In 2010, following its work on Ripened Tingle's Balloon Trip of Love, Japanese game developer Vanpool began working on a horror game starring Tingle as the main character. According to Nintendo's Kensuke Tanabe, the project was cancelled "due to a variety of reasons".[60]

While no further details have been revealed about the project, it is assumed that Tanabe would have served as the game's producer, as on the prior Tingle games, and that Vanpool founder Taro Kudo, who directed Freshly-Picked Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland, would have been involved in some capacity as well.

Vanpool would instead go on to develop Dillon's Rolling Western and its two sequels, all of which would be produced by Tanabe. Kudo would direct the first Dillon's Rolling Western game, and would eventually quit Vanpool to go independent. He would then serve as the writer and director on various Paper Mario games, and his comments during this period (2017) indicate that he was an independent developer at the time.[61][62][63]

Note: Taro Kudo's first directing job on Paper Mario was as a member of Vanpool, which co-developed Paper Mario: Sticker Star alongside Intelligent Systems.[64] Following the game's release, Kudo would go independent but continue to work on subsequent Paper Mario projects with Nintendo. At present, it is unclear whether Kudo is still an independent developer or not.


A Second Quest for Skyward Sword

At one point, the development had planned to give The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword a "Second Quest" that would have allowed the player to play as Zelda. This would have involved a fully-playable adventure from Zelda's point of view after she had landed on the Surface. The idea was never used, but the setting for the story was used in the cinematic shown after the game's ending.[65]

Non-Nintendo Projects

The Wind Waker for Game Boy Advance

The Wind Waker GBA prototype

A prototype that was created in 2003 by Ubisoft staff members Davide Soliani and Fabio Pagetti, in the hope of pitching the project to Nintendo via Ubisoft.[66] The prototype was produced in a month and purportedly ran well on the Game Boy Advance hardware.[67][68] Described as "just a dream of a couple of young devs," by Soliani, the project was never greenlit by Ubisoft or presented to Nintendo.[69][70]

When asked if a "whole vertical slice" of the project was ever produced, Soliani clarified that this was not the case.[71][72] The only remnant of the project today is a single screenshot that was shared by Soliani via his Twitter account.[73][74]

Prior to working on the prototype, Soliani had served as a "Game Design Studio Manager" on Game Boy Advance projects such as The Mummy and Tomb Raider: The Prophecy, both of which were produced by Ubisoft.[75][76] Soliani would go on to be part of the level design team at Kuju Entertainment on Battalion Wars, a Gamecube game published by Nintendo.[77] He would later work with Nintendo more closely as the Creative Director of Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle.[78]

References

  1. "You might say that, but before Super Mario 64, I had actually been making Zelda II: The Adventure of Link in polygons with Miyamoto-san. We were experimenting with a thin, polygon Link seen from the side and fighting with his sword. Chanbara was a pending issue at the time. We couldn't really bring Zelda II: The Adventure of Link into form at that time, but I kept that desire to achieve a sword-fighting Zelda game until I joined this team." —Yoshiaki Koizumi (The Legend of Zelda with Chanbara-style Action)
  2. "Wii/GC / Twilight Princess / 8,850,000" — Ishaan Sahdev, The Legend of Zelda - Global Sales, Game Design Gazette, published January 31, 2018, retrieved April 26, 2020.
  3. "The terrain created for Twilight Princess was vast. And honestly, I really thought there was more we could do with it. Those sort of sentiments always cross our minds in video game development though..." —Shigeru Miyamoto (The "process" as the reward)
  4. "So, after we finished with the development of Twilight Princess, I talked to the staff about whether or not we could do a side story. With a big series like Zelda, we usually only release a new version every 3-5 years, but we thought it would be great to make something for those people that really enjoyed Twilight Princess where they’d be able to keep playing in the same world. I think it’s important for players to be able to play new games at a fairly fast pace." —Shigeru Miyamoto (The "process" as the reward)
  5. "So, I asked our Zelda staff to think about a new project with an extra story based around Twilight Princess. But then, they were coming up with stories that can be described as ’epic tales’ rather than ’side stories’. Of course it’s also important to continue creating epics, but I do not believe that an epic tale alone can make a great game." —Shigeru Miyamoto (The "process" as the reward)
  6. "With that in mind, we took some time to ponder over the new project and I ultimately suggested that we make a game based on the Twilight Princess that utilized the Wii Zapper." —Shigeru Miyamoto (The "process" as the reward)
  7. "With that in mind, we took some time to ponder over the new project and I ultimately suggested that we make a game based on the Twilight Princess that utilized the Wii Zapper." —Shigeru Miyamoto (The "process" as the reward)
  8. "They were kind of shocked. It was like killing all the ideas they were working with until then. Some even felt that we should not do something which makes it look like we are reusing the already existing software and selling it to the consumers." —Shigeru Miyamoto (The "process" as the reward)
  9. "When we were in the middle of developing the Wii version of Twilight Princess, one of my staff came up to me and showed me some similar sort of wire and rubber band construction he’d made, and I said to him, ’this isn’t the time or the place to be making things like this!’ (laughs) But when I held the thing in my hands, I saw that it really felt pretty comfortable to hold. So, I talked with hardware people, and we got started on the formal project development." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Wire and rubber bands as inspiration)
  10. "Old storage hard-drive diving! (2005 - 2008) More stuff from a long lost cancelled Zelda (Sheik) action/jrpg that never went beyond pre-production... Really want to return to these some day to finish a few. Zelda games have wacky weird stuff, and this game was setting out to be ten times weirder." —Sammy Hall (Dark Gerudo)
  11. "Fun pre-pre-pre-production origin story of the Master Sword. Within the bad ending of “Ocarina of Time” exploring the last male Sheik’s (after a genocidal ethnic-cleansing) journey transforming into the Master Sword. All while the Dark Gerudo are giving their 100 year birth to Gannon." —Sammy Hall (Legend of Zelda: Sheik (Retro Studios) [Wii – Cancelled Concept])
  12. "Fun pre-pre-pre-production origin story of the Master Sword. Within the bad ending of “Ocarina of Time” exploring the last male Sheik’s (after a genocidal ethnic-cleansing) journey transforming into the Master Sword. All while the Dark Gerudo are giving their 100 year birth to Gannon." —Sammy Hall (Legend of Zelda: Sheik (Retro Studios) [Wii – Cancelled Concept])
  13. "According to Hall, the ideas for both games came from ex-Retro leads Mark Pacini, Todd Keller and Kynan Pearson, but were "cancelled the week they went to create their other studios." — Joe Skrebels, Concept Artist Discusses Retro's Cancelled Zelda and Mario Spin-Offs, IGN, published May 8, 2021, retrieved May 16, 2021.
  14. "Speaking to IGN, ex-Retro Studios concept artist Sammy Hall explained that both games were in pre-production when cancelled, and "I doubt many at Nintendo proper saw much of any of this stuff. I was mostly put into a room like Milton from Office Space and tasked to brainstorm between other projects."" — Joe Skrebels, Concept Artist Discusses Retro's Cancelled Zelda and Mario Spin-Offs, IGN, published May 8, 2021, retrieved May 16, 2021.
  15. "According to Hall, the ideas for both games came from ex-Retro leads Mark Pacini, Todd Keller and Kynan Pearson, but were "cancelled the week they went to create their other studios." — Joe Skrebels, Concept Artist Discusses Retro's Cancelled Zelda and Mario Spin-Offs, IGN, published May 8, 2021, retrieved May 16, 2021.
  16. "As you know, we have already collaborated with Retro for the Metroid Prime series in the past. And I think when we talk about any other franchise, Zelda might be a possible franchise for that collaboration." —Shigeru Miyamoto ([1])
  17. ""In terms of them working on a Zelda, it's not out of the question, certainly, for them to work on an entire Zelda game amongst themselves," Miyamoto said. "Traditionally I think that the Zelda team has always had a close contact with anyone who's working on a Zelda game. If you were going to have that happen in the US at Retro, that would be kind of difficult for them to be able to coordinate. Certainly they're too busy for that sort of thing right now. It would probably require me to be involved to a great extent as well, so I would have to get over quite a bit too. I'd probably have to live in Texas... [laughs]"" — Marc Nix, Retro Studios 'Too Busy' to Work on Zelda, IGN, published Jun 29, 2016, retrieved May 16, 2021.
  18. "We clearly talked with the team to make a game centered about Sheik, so I cannot say it is impossible to see something of the sort in the future, but in the classic games in the series, Link is the hero and that will not change. For the rest, you have to be patient and see what happens!" —Shigeru Miyamoto (Miyamoto on Zelda: Breath of the Wild – technology’s role, his involvement, more)
  19. "To tell you the truth, I actually wanted to create Link’s Crossbow Training 2. I thought that we should do something more and better in the field of the first person shooter, based on our experience of the first game." —Eiji Aonuma (Aonuma wanted to make Link’s Crossbow Training 2)
  20. "For example, I was thinking that maybe we could intensify the multiplayer mode. The original game was really just a solo game but I thought that we could add a true multiplayer mode with multiple users playing together, from remote areas, over the Wi-Fi Connection." —Eiji Aonuma (Aonuma wanted to make Link’s Crossbow Training 2)
  21. "The fact of the matter is that a lot of people inside Nintendo insisted that I should work on a new Legend Of Zelda title rather than working on more Crossbow Training." —Eiji Aonuma (Aonuma wanted to make Link’s Crossbow Training 2)
  22. "At first we worked on creating a game that followed the connectivity style of Four Swords Adventures with the two screens, but then Mr. Aonuma suggested we didn’t continue with that. He said we should think of a completely new Zelda gameplay that would become a DS standard. We didn’t mind the simplicity, so we ended up with the idea of a stylus-controlled game." —Daiki Iwamoto (The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass interview with Eiji Aonuma)
  23. "When The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks was over, much of the staff went to develop Sword. The only ones left were Mouri-san, another programmer and I. The Nintendo 3DS wasn't out yet, but our goals was to make a Zelda game for the handheld that would follow the Nintendo DS, so for about the first year, we thought a lot about what to do." —Hiromasa Shikata ("Sounds Like an Idea That's 20 Years Old")
  24. "「ゼルダの伝説 大地の汽笛」で,リンクとファントムを切り替えながら遊んでいくシステムがあったんですが,僕はあれを2人で同時に遊べたら面白いだろうと思っていました。 でも青沼さんが以前,「マーヴェラス ~もうひとつの宝島~」というゲームを作っていて,あれが3人だったんですよね?" —Hiromasa Shikata (なぜ今,マルチプレイなのか。そして“ゼルダのリアリティ”とは? 「ゼルダの伝説 トライフォース3銃士」,青沼英二プロデューサーと,四方宏昌ディレクターに聞いた)
  25. "When The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks was over, much of the staff went to develop Sword. The only ones left were Mouri-san, another programmer and I. The Nintendo 3DS wasn't out yet, but our goals was to make a Zelda game for the handheld that would follow the Nintendo DS, so for about the first year, we thought a lot about what to do. A Link to the Past wasn't on our minds at all. We didn't even have the idea of Link entering walls. We were thinking about a Zelda game with the theme of communication. When we presented it, Miyamoto-san said, 'This sounds like an idea that's 20 years old.'" —Hiromasa Shikata ("Sounds Like an Idea That's 20 Years Old")
  26. Nintendo World Report, Nintendo 3DS Classic Collection Exclusive Footage (E3 2010), Youtube, published June 20, 2010, retrieved September 5, 2021.
  27. "Link’s name comes from the fact that originally, the fragments of the Triforce were supposed to be electronic chips. The game was to be set in both the past and the future and as the main character would travel between both and be the link between them, they called him Link. Also conceptualized alongside the main character was the "Triforce," a trio of electronic chips that would play a role in Link's time-traveling adventure." —Shigeru Miyamoto (A link between settings)
  28. "When we were starting the project, we experimented to see if it was possible to include a multi-world structure into the game. Our plan was that events in the hub world would have an effect on the other, overlapping worlds." —Takashi Tezuka (Multiple worlds)
  29. "At first there were 3 worlds, but players would’ve gotten confused. That’s why we had to fix things up. It’s difficult to plant a new concept like that in an action game, you see." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Three worlds)
  30. "Ever since I started making the first game in the series, I’ve been saying that the 3rd Zelda will feature a party, one that consists of the protagonist, who’s a mix between an elf and a fighter, a magic user, and a girl. The fairy that appeared in Adventure of Link was actually a party member designed for Zelda 3. A girl who looked a little like a fairy and whose role consisted of reconnaissance. Like the characters in action games that don’t engage enemies in combat but rather go and scout out the surroundings and return to you safely. It’s also fun when an action adventure game lets you choose who to send out. That’s the sort of thing I’m thinking I’d like to put in Zelda 3." —Shigeru Miyamoto (A fairy character)
  31. "We did include alternate paths/solutions for players that are easier, though. Originally, the system in Zelda we envisioned was more open-ended: for example, if there was a rock blocking your way, you could safely ignore it and keep playing: there was always another way around. I wanted something that players could get so lost in, it would take them a whole year to finish. The problem with making an “open-ended” version of Zelda like that was the messaging and plotline. If you ignore structure like that, then the plotline can quickly get screwy and NPC messages start to not make sense. Programming in enough logic to handle all the different possibilities probably would have required about 150% more memory than we had." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Hardware constraints)
  32. "The game Zelda designer Shigeru Miyamoto and his team wanted to create would be set in a persistent world. Every change Link would make to his surroundings would stick. If you smashed a box, it would stay broken. If you dug a hole, it would remain there until you covered it. If you left footsteps in the sand, they would stay. All this was supposed to be made possible by the enhanced storage space of the 64DD." —Peer Schneider (Hyrule Times Vol. 4: Cancelled Games)
  33. "ROM cartridges don't have moving mechanical parts, so you can retrieve motion data in an instant wherever it is, but with a magnetic disk, it takes time to move certain mechanical parts, so depending on where the data is, it takes time to retrieve it, so you couldn't make Link move. If there weren't many movements and you could fit them in the memory, you could read them to memory from the magnetic disk beforehand, but there were 500 patterns." —Satoru Iwata (What We Couldn't Do with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time)
  34. "We are going to make games that no one has ever seen. I feel there is a bad atmosphere that you can't do something new at Nintendo these days. I never thought things like this before. So now we are changing ourselves to an organization that allows people to do new things and energize ourselves. I'm saying to my people that from now on let's go for the game that can be developed within six months and sell a million copies. If you want to finish a game within six months, you have to make it within two months because you need to polish it for another four months. If someone asks me who can make such a thing, I'd tell them that I used to do it (laugh). It isn't a great thing to take three years. Zelda would have been finished in a much shorter period if we had cut some parts. [...] Once we finish Zelda 64, the team will be split in two. One will work on a sort of sequel while the other team will be working on a brand-new game that will use the Zelda engine. Just like Rare does with Perfect Dark, which uses the GoldenEye engine. This will speed up overall game development." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Interview:64 Dream June 1st 1998)
  35. "Since we already made The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, we had 3D models that we invested a lot of time in to build. This all started by (Shigeru) Miyamoto-san asking whether we could make a game in one year if we repurpose the models. But we were already talking about trying to make Master Quest for Nintendo 64DD. We were told to repurpose the dungeons from Ocarina of Time and make a game out of it, and I was handed the baton to make that happen. However, when we made Ocarina of Time, we made those dungeons thinking they were the best we could make. That's when Miyamoto-san asked me to remake them, so I hesitantly obliged...but I couldn't really get into it." —Eiji Aonuma (Make it in a Year)
  36. "I secretly started making new dungeons that weren't in Ocarina of Time, and that was much more fun to me. So, I grew up the courage to ask Miyamoto-san whether I could make a new game, he replied by saying it's ok if I can make it in a year." —Eiji Aonuma (Make it in a Year)
  37. "Ultimately, other staff members handled The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: Master Quest. Still, as someone who has been in charge of the dungeons, I just couldn't get that excited over making a flip-side for them. I couldn't see it turning into a new The Legend of Zelda, either. But we'd been told to make The Legend of Zelda. It isn't as though we could just say, "I don't want to", and end it there. At that point, Miyamoto-san gave us a tradeoff: he said, if we could make a new The Legend of Zelda game in one year, then it wouldn't have to be a "flip-side"." —Eiji Aonuma (The Previous Game Felt As Though We'd Given Our All)
  38. "We are working on two follow-ups to The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. "Ura Zelda" uses the same system as Ocarina of Time but uses the 64DD to add game data. The story in "Ura Zelda" will be similar to Ocarina of Time but with new maps and scenarios. Zelda Gaiden, on the other hand, is a completely different game, although it too uses essentially the same game system as Ocarina of Time. Everyone has enjoyed the Zelda series but there's typically at least a 3 year wait between sequels! People who are in Junior High School when they play one Zelda game would be in High School by time the next game comes out, and those in High School will graduate before the next game came out! So, we wanted to make a new game in the series sooner. "Ura Zelda" will use the existing Ocarina of Time cartridge but with different dungeons, and new locations for the treasures. Since the 64DD media is cheaper than a new cartridge, this is an inexpensive way to make a sequel. We may also consider using network technology for "Ura Zelda." Right now, most of the staff is concentrating on Zelda Gaiden." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Interview:Nintendo Online Magazine August 29th 1999)
  39. "The game Zelda designer Shigeru Miyamoto and his team wanted to create would be set in a persistent world. Every change Link would make to his surroundings would stick. If you smashed a box, it would stay broken. If you dug a hole, it would remain there until you covered it. If you left footsteps in the sand, they would stay. All this was supposed to be made possible by the enhanced storage space of the 64DD." —Peer Schneider (Hyrule Times Vol. 4: Cancelled Games)
  40. "We are working on two follow-ups to The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. "Ura Zelda" uses the same system as Ocarina of Time but uses the 64DD to add game data. The story in "Ura Zelda" will be similar to Ocarina of Time but with new maps and scenarios. Zelda Gaiden, on the other hand, is a completely different game, although it too uses essentially the same game system as Ocarina of Time. Everyone has enjoyed the Zelda series but there's typically at least a 3 year wait between sequels! People who are in Junior High School when they play one Zelda game would be in High School by time the next game comes out, and those in High School will graduate before the next game came out! So, we wanted to make a new game in the series sooner. "Ura Zelda" will use the existing Ocarina of Time cartridge but with different dungeons, and new locations for the treasures. Since the 64DD media is cheaper than a new cartridge, this is an inexpensive way to make a sequel. We may also consider using network technology for "Ura Zelda." Right now, most of the staff is concentrating on Zelda Gaiden." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Interview:Nintendo Online Magazine August 29th 1999)
  41. "The title might support the GB Camera to create masks for Link. Miyamoto hinted of this possibility in a 64 Dream interview. If this does turn out to be true, gamers will be able to create their own masks in Talent Studio and implement them into Ura-Zelda." — IGN Staff, How far along is Gaiden? What's happening with Ura-Zelda? Miyamoto reveals more on both., IGN, published Sep 23, 1999, retrieved May 18, 2021.
  42. "We are working on two follow-ups to The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. "Ura Zelda" uses the same system as Ocarina of Time but uses the 64DD to add game data. The story in "Ura Zelda" will be similar to Ocarina of Time but with new maps and scenarios. Zelda Gaiden, on the other hand, is a completely different game, although it too uses essentially the same game system as Ocarina of Time. Everyone has enjoyed the Zelda series but there's typically at least a 3 year wait between sequels! People who are in Junior High School when they play one Zelda game would be in High School by time the next game comes out, and those in High School will graduate before the next game came out! So, we wanted to make a new game in the series sooner. "Ura Zelda" will use the existing Ocarina of Time cartridge but with different dungeons, and new locations for the treasures. Since the 64DD media is cheaper than a new cartridge, this is an inexpensive way to make a sequel. We may also consider using network technology for "Ura Zelda." Right now, most of the staff is concentrating on Zelda Gaiden." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Interview:Nintendo Online Magazine August 29th 1999)
  43. "Speaking to the press in an open forum held yesterday in Tokyo, Japan, Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto casually commented that "Ura-Zelda" (aka: Legend of Zelda DD) has been completed for some time now." — IGN Staff, Ura-Zelda Complete, IGN, published Aug 26, 2000, retrieved May 18, 2021.
  44. "It is possible to trick the game into believing you have inserted an Ura Zelda disk. This can be done with a Japanese-region Ocarina of Time ROM by changing the bytes at 0xB9CCD0 from Ocarina of Time's identifier, EZLJ, to the identifier of another 64DD disk in your possession. The game will then recognize the 64DD disk as Ura Zelda. This will cause the game to display a Disk tag on the title screen. In addition, save files with Disk tags appended will no longer be greyed out. However, the game crashes if you try to load them, perhaps because it is trying to access non-existent files on the disk."The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, The Cutting Room Floor, retrieved May 18, 2021.
  45. ""Ocarina of Time has been designed with the disk drive system in mind," Mr. Miyamoto told IGN64. "More specifically, if you connect Zelda with the disk drive, an icon will appear on screen, announcing 'Ura-Zelda', or 'Another Zelda'. There were several ideas that I could not incorporate [in the current game] because of the time shortage and other reasons. In the future, I want some new areas and new dungeons to be available for players who have already finished Ocarina of Time, where they will find new challenges."" — IGN Staff, Zelda DD: The Other Adventure, IGN, published November 17, 1998, retrieved May 18, 2021.
  46. "This project originally started to convert the original NES Zelda to Game Boy Color. So one of the titles will be a perfect conversion of NES Zelda. However, in working on this game, we have come up with a lot of new ideas, so there will be some new features. Basically I can tell you that there is a connection between the three tales. You can start with any one of them, but if you play them in a different order than someone else, the two player's games will be different..." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Talkin' Zelda with Mr. Miyamoto)
  47. "Using that system, the team had to redo both the scenario and the maps several times to make all the elements fit. During that process, we realized that, since the Game Boy Color screen is narrower than a TV screen, the player must scroll the screen to the left and right to see the whole room. That created some difficulties in game play development. If you see a crack on a wall, you know that you need to use a bomb to break through. But, if you can't see the crack, because all of the walls in the room aren't visible at once, you could miss it. That led to more difficulty in developing the maps." —Yoshiki Okamoto (The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons Interview Part I)
  48. "The Zelda series really only started to have scenarios after the hardware specifications improved. The original Zelda was a pure action-RPG and didn’t have much of a story to begin with. I wanted to combine both those aspects (action-RPG and an actual scenario) this time around. At first, we’d only planned on creating a game one-tenth the size of the final version. But it just kept growing as development progressed and gradually turned into an original game. We began with a rough image of the game. After thinking up the topography, we created the map. After the rough map was done, we thought up the characters. We also altered the scenario as we made the game." —Hidemaro Fujibayashi (The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons/Ages Interview with Director Hidemaro Fujibayashi)
  49. "Well, for the first little while I had left the team totally alone [without Miyamoto's help] because I figured they'd easily be able to do this much by themselves. So I left them alone, and for the first year we did nothing but lose lots of money." —Yoshiki Okamoto (The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons Interview Part I)
  50. "最初は『ビルダの伝説ふしぎの木の実力の章/知惠の章/勇気の章』の三部作として予定されていた。『力の章』は現在の『大地の章』の内容で。四季を司るゼルダ姫がさらわれ、ハイラルとウーラ世界を行き来する物語であった。"  (The Legend of Zelda Encyclopedia (Japanese edition) (Tokuma Shoten Publishing) pg. 255)
  51. "As some of you know, at E3 2004 we unveiled the game that would become Zelda: Twilight Princess—the realistic Zelda game. We announced that it was being developed by the team that had been developing Wind Waker 2. Actually, there’s a reason that decision was made at the time that it was. At one point, I had heard that even Wind Waker, which had reached the million mark in sales, was quickly losing steam, and that things were sluggish even in North America, where the market was much healthier than in Japan. I asked [Nintendo of America] why this was. What I was told was that the toon-shading technique was in fact giving the impression that this Zelda was for a younger audience, and that for this reason, it alienated the upper-teen audience that had represented the typical Zelda player. Having heard that, I began to worry about whether Wind Waker 2, which used a similar presentation, was something that would actually sell. In addition, because we knew how difficult it would be to create an innovative way of playing using the existing GameCube hardware, we knew what a challenge it would be to develop something that would sell in the Japanese market, where gamer drift was happening. That’s when I decided that if we didn’t have an effective and immediate solution, the only thing that we could do was to give the healthier North American market the Zelda that they wanted." —Eiji Aonuma (Reflections of Zelda)
  52. "Games have come to a dead end. Creating complicated games with advanced graphics used to be the golden principle that led to success, but it is no longer working. The biggest problem is that [developers] need to satisfy the core gamers, who want games with more volume and complexity, while they also need to satisfy average users, who don't have as much knowledge about games. The situation right now is that even if the developers work a hundred times harder, they can forget about selling a hundred times more units, since it's difficult for them to even reach the status quo. It's obvious that there's no future to gaming if we continue to run on this principle that wastes time and energy [in development]. Nintendo is called 'conservative' and 'quiet' nowadays, so we hope to show our existence as an innovator to new styles of entertainment." —Satoru Iwata (Various Satoru Iwata comments regarding the Nintendo DS)
  53. "We are going to make games that no one has ever seen. I feel there is a bad atmosphere that you can't do something new at Nintendo these days. I never thought things like this before. So now we are changing ourselves to an organization that allows people to do new things and energize ourselves. I'm saying to my people that from now on let's go for the game that can be developed within six months and sell a million copies. If you want to finish a game within six months, you have to make it within two months because you need to polish it for another four months. If someone asks me who can make such a thing, I'd tell them that I used to do it (laugh). It isn't a great thing to take three years. Zelda would have been finished in a much shorter period if we had cut some parts." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Interview:64 Dream June 1st 1998)
  54. "When it was announced with a surprise trailer at the 2004 E3, it received a standing ovation from the media audience. This was a very exciting moment for us, but we were still in the very early stages of converting the game into something more realistic. We knew that we had to create a Zelda game that would live up to the expectations of fans in North America, and that if we didn’t, it could mean the end of the franchise." —Eiji Aonuma (Reflections of Zelda)
  55. ""However, Wind Waker 2 would have taken place in a more land-based setting. Rather than on the sea, so that we could have Link gallop across the land on a horse. But Link’s proportions in Wind Waker weren’t very well suited for riding on horseback, he was too short, and an adult version of Toon Link did not seem appropriate either. So, while we were stuck on those problems, we became aware of the greater demand for a more realistic, taller Link. High-budget live-action fantasy movies were also huge at the time, so with all things considered, we decided to have at it. With that, the game shifted to what would become Twilight Princess."" —Eiji Aonuma (Reflections of Zelda)
  56. "Well, [it might not be the answer you're looking for], but actually, that kind of reaction was partially expected. I worked on editing that trailer myself, and I specifically wanted people not to realize it was a Zelda game at the very beginning. What we showed was simply a horse, gradually building to the close-up, and then people finally realize it's Link, it's a Zelda game. If people didn't get excited then, I was in trouble. [Laughs] I knew that there was a demand for a photo-realistic Zelda - that we couldn't deny." —Eiji Aonuma (Interview: Electronic Gaming Monthly June 2005)
  57. ""However, Wind Waker 2 would have taken place in a more land-based setting. Rather than on the sea, so that we could have Link gallop across the land on a horse. But Link’s proportions in Wind Waker weren’t very well suited for riding on horseback, he was too short, and an adult version of Toon Link did not seem appropriate either. So, while we were stuck on those problems, we became aware of the greater demand for a more realistic, taller Link. High-budget live-action fantasy movies were also huge at the time, so with all things considered, we decided to have at it. With that, the game shifted to what would become Twilight Princess."" —Eiji Aonuma (Reflections of Zelda)
  58. "At the end of 2003, I went to Miyamoto and said, ‘I want to make a realistic Zelda’. Miyamoto was sceptical at first—I was so focused on changing the look of the game as being the solution we were looking for without coming up with a breakthrough in gameplay. And he advised me that, ‘if you really want to make a realistic Zelda, then you should start by doing what you couldn’t in Ocarina of Time’. Make it so Link can attack enemies while riding on his horse using the Wind Waker engine, and make your decision based on how that feels.’ This is something that went against everything the staff had been working on, and I expected it to come as a shock to the team—but surprisingly, my entire staff was enthusiastic about this change, and the project on which progress had slowed was given a much-needed jumpstart." —Eiji Aonuma (Reflections of Zelda)
  59. "There was a secret project we were considering working on before The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess for Wii, and Midna inherited the character profile for the 'goblin/devilkin' character that would have been featured in that project. Looking back at the development notes from that time, there are some descriptions left on the notes clearly reminiscent of Midna, including 'the appearance looks like a monster or a child,' 'can't tell if she's enemy or ally,' 'can't really tell what she's thinking,' 'sometimes selfish, but sometimes cute and naïve.' That's why initial design sketches for Midna looked a lot like this 'goblin' character." —Satoru Takizawa (Countdown to DLC Pack 1: The Master Trials)
  60. "Looking back eight years ago, we were developing a horror game with Vanpool that starred Tingle as the main character, but that project was canceled due to a variety of reasons." —Kensuke Tanabe (The Makers Of Nintendo's Latest Hidden Gem Worry People Missed It)
  61. "Paper Mario: Color Splash (2016) (Directors)" — MobyGames, Taro Kudo Video Game Credits and Biography, MobyGames, retrieved May 16, 2021.
  62. "Paper Mario: The Origami King (2020) (Writing)" — MobyGames, Taro Kudo Video Game Credits and Biography, MobyGames, retrieved May 16, 2021.
  63. "工藤氏:なんだそれ(笑)。いや、俺はいまの現場では、ただ週に2、3日、東京から来るめんどくさいおじさんなの。いまがんばってる人たちに自分から進んで自分の経歴は言っていないですよ。バンプールを辞めた瞬間から若干世捨て人になってるので。" —Taro Kudo (伝説のRPG『moon』20年目の同窓会──ラブデリックメンバーが語る、ディレクター3人という奇跡のような開発スタイル…そして「あのころ」の始まりと終わり【座談会】)
  64. "I'm Kudo from Vanpool. I was in charge of direction and the script for this game. My first involvement with Super Mario was at the time of the Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars game for the Super NES as a member of the Square (now Square Enix) staff." —Taro Kudo (Talking Away at Iwata)
  65. "During development, the team considered turning Zelda's adventure after she landed on the Surface into a fully playable "Second Quest". It never became reality, but the setting of that story was used in the cinematic shown after the game's ending."  (The Legend of Zelda Encyclopedia (Dark Horse) pg. 297)
  66. "Long time ago, i guess it was the 2003, me and Fabio Pagetti (the artist who made the pixel art below) almost convinced our managing director to let us produce a demo for a GBA version of Wind Waker. No luck that time, but it was running nicely. We were dreamers" —Davide Soliani (Davide Soliani's Twitter account)
  67. "We had only one month. It was just a dream of a couple of young devs" —Davide Soliani (Davide Soliani's Twitter account)
  68. "Long time ago, i guess it was the 2003, me and Fabio Pagetti (the artist who made the pixel art below) almost convinced our managing director to let us produce a demo for a GBA version of Wind Waker. No luck that time, but it was running nicely. We were dreamers" —Davide Soliani (Davide Soliani's Twitter account)
  69. "Nope" —Davide Soliani (Davide Soliani's Twitter account)
  70. "We had only one month. It was just a dream of a couple of young devs" —Davide Soliani (Davide Soliani's Twitter account)
  71. "Not at all" —Davide Soliani (Davide Soliani's Twitter account)
  72. "Nope" —Davide Soliani (Davide Soliani's Twitter account)
  73. "We don't have it anymore, sorry" —Davide Soliani (Davide Soliani's Twitter account)
  74. "Nope" —Davide Soliani (Davide Soliani's Twitter account)
  75. "The Mummy (2002) (Game Design Studio Manager)" — MobyGames, Davide Soliani Video Game Credits and Biography, MobyGames, retrieved May 16, 2021.
  76. "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider - The Prophecy (2002) (Game Design Studio Manager)" — MobyGames, Davide Soliani Video Game Credits and Biography, MobyGames, retrieved May 16, 2021.
  77. "Battalion Wars (2005) (Level Design Team)" — MobyGames, Davide Soliani Video Game Credits and Biography, MobyGames, retrieved May 16, 2021.
  78. "Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle (2017) (Creative Director)" — MobyGames, Davide Soliani Video Game Credits and Biography, MobyGames, retrieved May 16, 2021.
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